Amphetamines, including methamphetamines, were created in the early 20th century. No medical uses were found until the 1930s when it was first prescribed as a bronchial inhaler. The drug was soon used to treat multiple conditions, including; fatigue, narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder and obesity. These drugs were also highly addictive, leading to addicts known as “speed freaks.” In 1970, the federal government made amphetamines a schedule II narcotic, making them illegal. Through the next decade, further restrictions on the drugs and the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture the drugs lead to a decline of abuse in America.
Through the 1990’s to today, illegal methamphetamine production and abuse has been steadily rising. Starting in Hawaii and spreading rapidly through the western states methamphetamines or “Meth”, is now reported as being abused by 5% of the American population. The chemicals needed to produce meth can be found in a variety of legal, over the counter medications. Nasal decongestants, in particular, are popular due to their large content of pseudoephedrine. Decongestants are not the only source of the chemical; weight loss pills, inhalers, cold and flu pills, and cough syrup all contain large amounts of pseudoephedrine. These medications are used by almost every house hold around the world (Hunt 5).
In many Asian societies, meth is regularly used by working class people. A single dose of meth can keep a person energized without the need to eat or sleep for up to twelve hours. Many people use the meth to stay up for days at a time in order to finish more work. This equates to more money earned and is therefore justified by the users. Contractors, painters, business professionals and prostitutes all use meth with this goal. In Japan, methamphetamines account for 90% of all drug related offenses and arrest (Ling).
Due to meth’s highly addictive nature, many who use the drug remain addicted for the rest of...